Across the Globe

Hosting the Vice-Chancellor of the State University of Zanzibar

July 30, 2012
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WASHINGTON — From April 18-28, American Councils for International Education hosted Idris Rai, PhD, the newly appointed vice-chancellor of the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) in Tanzania during his visit to the United States.

Dr. Rai and American Councils staff discussed faculty development and exchange, the expansion of SUZA's campus and facilities, and SUZA's new Master of Arts program for teaching Swahili. President of American Councils Dan E. Davidson, PhD, accompanied Dr. Rai on a visit to the 15th National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages Annual Conference at the University of Wisconsin, which focused on "Promoting Advanced Language Proficiency and Intercultural Competency in Less Commonly Taught Languages."

SUZA is the principal African institutional partner for the overseas portion of the Swahili Language Flagship program and African Language Initiative, in cooperation with Indiana University, DLNSEO, and American Councils for International Education.

Dr. Rai met with the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO), the funder for the Language Flagship Program, during his stay and with Indiana University, the administrator for the domestic Swahili Flagship program. American Councils administers the overseas portion of the Swahili Flagship program.

Indiana University-Bloomington runs the domestic Swahili Flagship Program for their qualified, undergraduate students who wish to attain an "advanced" level of proficiency in Swahili. The program is open to all Indiana University undergraduate students (Swahili majors and non-majors), as well as to heritage speakers, who are exposed to the Swahili language at home.

After acquiring an advanced level of proficiency, students spend an academic year abroad on the Swahili Overseas Flagship Program in Zanzibar, Tanzania, where they receive superior-level language training in an immersion setting, and experience the rich African culture firsthand through homestays with Swahili-speaking families. Students take classes in Swahili and in their area of specialization at SUZA during the fall semester and then intern with local organizations during the spring semester. The overseas component of the program, run by American Councils for International Education, is supplemented with discourse development, individualized tutorials, and biweekly excursions.